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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Black Darter influx at Corton Sewage works

On Sunday 6th October I missed out on seeing Black Darters at Corton because I had been gardening all afternoon. Well done to Andrew E for findinga further3 at this site, but I am kicking myself for not going myself as I thought it would be a good area to check following Andrew's stunning bief sighting of a Vagrant Emperor, an Odonata I am particularly keen to see. So on Monday 7th October at 1.15pm, and despite grey clouds looming, I made my way to the Corton sewage works pond armed with my wellies and I was initially unsure on whether I would see any and was mightliy relieved and elated to immediately see a male Black Darter on the hand rail. As I waded through the submerged board walk. This magnificent Odonata showed really well and was particular obliging for the camera although this was spoilt by the slightly overcast conditions making photography particularly difficult. This species has a very thin pinched in abdomen which makes sharp photography particularly difficult and this requires a normal aperture rating of F8 for Dragonflies increased to a more light demanding F11 aperture. This causes serious problems in the poor light and this wasn't an option on the day with such poor lighting. A further Black Darter, another male, was resting on the handrail along the eastern end of the boardwalk. Whilst around the grassy margins just west of the pool, another male Black Darter was seen and took a particular shine to Ricky, often alighting on his hand. Meanwhile I saw a Willow Emerald hanging from the bushes and viewed from the western side a pair of Willow Emeralds were mating (initially viewed through Steve A's telescope), this bodes very well for the future of this species at this site. Probably around 5 male Black Darters seen in total, plus several, 5 Common Darters mostly male, 1 Emperor Dragonfly buzzing about and several 3 really smart male Migrant Hawkers. We also saw Nick M, who was asking about Lesser Emperor sighting including my record from last July at the now Odonata hot spot of Links road/ North Beach/ Gunton Dunes area! On Tuesday 8th October, the sun was shining and a late night at work (working to 7pm) I was able to break for very early lunch at 10.30am and by 10.45am, I was walking down to the Pool. A case of deja vu, as it was good to see Ricky F here again. Ricky hadn't seen any Black Darters but I soon spotted a male Black Darter perched on the hand rail of the boardwalk over the far eastern end. But our concentration was on the grassy bank, where we spotted up to 10+ male Black Darters flying around then either perched on the ground or on a frond of sticking vegetation sticking up. The perfect sunny conditions made all the difference as several male Black Darters posed beautifully for the camera giving some good results. The trick was to either spot them perched which was tricky or follow one seen in flight and hope it landed within view. The bright sunlight meant we had to be very careful not to cast shadows over these insects which would quickly fly off again. Also seen were an Emperor Dragonfly, 3 smart male Migrant Hawkers and 5 Common Darters (4 males and 1 female). After leaving work at 7.05pm this evening I heard a Tawny owl calling "kewick" calls from just north- west of the site not far from the Doctor's quarters.

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